Mediterranean-Style Corn Bread

By: Sheilah Kaufman

Even though corn is native to the Americas, its popularity in the Mediterranean region is so widespread that you would think it originated there. This Italian-inspired version is an updated interpretation of traditional recipes from the northern Italian regions of Veneto, Lombardia, and Fruili. Introduced by the Ottomans, corn flour was called grano turco, or “Turkish grains” in Italian, and became extremely popular with the Jewish community in Venice. Soon thereafter, it became a poor man’s staple throughout Italy.  

While many Americans find the words healthful bread to be an oxymoron, this isn't the case in the Mediterranean region. There, fresh breads made with high-quality grains are enjoyed daily and are a backbone to the diet. Simple, quick breads like this one can be whipped up in minutes and provide a heartier alternative to store-bought varieties.

This recipe is from my dear friend and award-winning author, chef, television personality, and Mediterranean Diet Advocate, Amy Riolo, from her latest book The Ultimate Mediterranean Diet Cookbook: Harness the Power of the World's Healthiest Diet to Live Better, Longer by Amy Riolo. 

Visit her on her many sites: WebsiteBlogVideo ChannelTwitterYou Tube and Facebook


  • 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2.5 cups (305 g) stone ground 100% whole-grain, medium-grind cornmeal
  • 1/2 (9 g) tbsp. unrefined sea salt or salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 cups (475 ml) boiling water
  • ¼ cup (14 g) chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 4 oz. (115 g) fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded by hand into large pieces

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease an 8-inch (20 cm) round cake pan with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Combine the cornmeal, salt, remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil, baking powder, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the boiling water and stir to mix until all of the water is incorporated in the mixture.Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella. Pour the cornmeal mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your hands and press down to smooth the top.

Bake for 10 minutes and then cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until golden and firm on top. Allow to cool slightly and serve warm, or allow to cool and wrap in plastic wrap.

Yield: 12 servings

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A popular lecturer and expert on Mediterranean cooking and Jewish culinary history and traditions, Sheilah has been a guest speaker for The Library of Congress, The National Book Festival, Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival  In addition, she is a popular lecturer for Jewish Federations, Hadassah, diplomatic groups, and Oasis, and has been a frequent guest on television and radio programs (including Martha Stewart Live) across the nation. Sheilah also does consulting and has developed recipes and served as a national spokesperson for a number of international companies. Visit Sheilah's website here!